Pride Festival in Moab Ushered in by "Visibility March"

Oct 3, 2012

On Saturday Moab Mayor Dave Sakrison issued a proclamation welcoming the Moab Pride Festival:

"I think it’s a good event, I really do, and I think the community thinks it’s a good event. These are our neighbors, these are our friends, these are the people who live here, so, you know, we’re all in this thing together. And why not celebrate that?"

"Aw, I love that man." says Jenn Oestreich, leader of this year's "visibility march," " The whereases all over the place makes it that much more poignant. Everyone loves a gay parade. I had concerns last year because I knew that we had just passed our anti-discrimination laws for the GLBTQ community for housing and employment, so that was like a big milestone for me."

The festival’s keynote speaker was Zach Wahls, known best for his “My two moms” speech at the Democratic convention.

"I was raised by my two moms, Jackie and Terry, and believe it or not, I actually turned out okay.  A radical idea, I know, that  maybe what matters most when it comes to raising kids is not the gender or sexual orientation of your parents, but whether or not they’re willing to put in the blood, sweat, toil and tears that it takes to sculpt little, you know, hellions, into well adjusted young adults. My moms don’t live in a gay house, or have a gay dog, as far as we can tell. And they don’t drive gay cars. Well, actually, Jackie does drive a Nissan Xterra…"

In the audience was Moab high school senior Dove Hansen, along with her two moms, Pam and Ginger. Dove says, "All my friends have been completely supportive, and it’s not a big deal to them. They call them “mom” just like I do. It’s just really welcoming."

Her moms agree: "Life got better for us, really. We didn’t live in fear."

"[There's] Much more acceptance here than other places in the United States. Moab is a more diverse and is a more accepting community."

Zach Wahls, who is an Eagle Scout, has now become an advocate for changing the policy that excludes gays from the Boy Scouts.

"I genuinely do not think the BSA is an anti-gay group today. It is an organization that has put into place a discriminatory policy, that is unfortunately, is beginning to define them. And what we’re trying to do, frankly, is save the BSA from itself."

Recently Wahl’s petition convinced Intel, the Scouts biggest corporate donor, to withdraw its support, and other companies are following suit. Local scout groups have also begun to rebel against exclusionary policies.

"There are about a dozen councils all over the country representing collectively about 200,000 scouts that have formally said they will not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation."

None of those groups are in Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds large sway in scouting. LDS members on the Scouts’ national board have previously threatened to withdraw if forced to accept gay members.